Life

New Year and Looking Back on 2019

Hello, 2019.

The lovely Kim of Talk Wordy to Me shared this post recently and I loved her questions for reflecting on the past year and looking forward. I haven’t made a set of resolutions this year, I have a few things I’d like to accomplish but everything is still so unsettled since moving into our new home in Las Vegas. There’s been so much change, all I want is a little normalcy, ha!

In many ways, 2018 was simultaneously one of my best years ever and also one of my hardest. OK, new motherhood was probably the roughest, but last year was brutal in many ways. A lot of failures and disappointments. But also some incredible moments of success and joy, and some of my proudest achievements to date. 2018 was the year I took the bull by the horns (and got kicked off several times!).

So here’s Kim’s questionnaire:

WHAT IS A WORD OR PHRASE YOU WANT TO FOCUS ON THIS YEAR AND WHY?

I loved a theme from Brooke Snow‘s presentation at SALT this year, and Rio, the founder of Work + Wonder General Conference Workbooks (which are amazing!!!) brought it up recently with a challenge: Brooke Snow talked about how the words “I AM” are sacred words — words that create, not ones that just state something that has already happened. God used words to bring forth life, the entire world (“let there be light”)… our words have creative power. So affirmations aren’t some silly woo woo thing, they are visualizing an outcome that we intend to realize, and they bring it to pass! I love that thought.

So Rio recently challenged people to come up with three “I AM” affirmations for the new year — instead of a long list of goals and plans, three affirmations that help us craft the life and change we want. I’ve given it some thought and here are mine:

I AM Faithful — to my Savior; I am dedicated to studying and seeking and pondering. To my husband; I love him and spend quality time with him.

I AM Focused — if I could choose a “word of the year” it’d be this one. I am focused on my goals, I am not distracted by social media, I am organized and on task, I wake up early enough to give myself time to start the day intentionally. I am focused on the things that matter most; I am present with my spouse and my children. I am focused.

I AM in control of my thoughts and my emotions. I don’t need to fall victim to insecurities or frustrations — I listen to the true stories my children are telling me when they melt down or “misbehave” — I am loving in my marriage instead of waiting to “feel” love.

WHAT WORKED FOR YOU IN 2018?

I started 2018 with plans to “dare greatly.” And guys, I really did it, too! I am really proud of myself for finally just DOING the things I wanted to.

I finally launched my photography & videography business and it was amazing. There was a lot of learning along the way but now I feel so much more prepared for whatever may come my way. I’m so grateful for the dear friends who gave me a chance and let me cut my teeth on their families 😉 And if you need a photographer for an engagement, birth, wedding, family… hit me up!

Diet & exercise. I started adopting the Clean Simple Eats meal plans in late spring and really gave myself a stern talking to when it comes to health and fitness and man, my husband and I have both changed so much! I lost the excess weight I’ve been carrying since my kids’ births and the lifestyle change has actually stuck for a good long time. Nowadays eating poorly tends to actually make me feel sick and I can’t wait to get back to better balance, ha! I’m really grateful to have found the right methods for us (counting macros) and it feels amazing to be in the best shape of my life! The true test was Christmas & the holidays. But I still managed to keep up some decent exercise routine and eat balanced most of the time, while indulging in the good stuff too, and didn’t put on ten pounds! It’s working!

Dreaming Big. I’ve always liked public speaking (yes, I know, I’m weird. Explains why news was a good fit though, ha!) and this year, even though I’m not really an “expert” or Seasoned Adult People Should Listen To, I decided to just apply anyway to speak on a topic I’m passionate about at SALT LDS Women’s Retreats. And I got it! It was an amazing experience and a highlight of my year. I LOVED meeting and mingling with so many amazing women, and they absolutely inspired me.

WHAT DIDN’T WORK IN 2018?

Stressing out too much about things, or telling myself “I can’t do that because… (insert half-baked excuse)” It’s hard for me to let go of anxieties sometimes. But I need to just ignore the insecurity and forge forward — it’s worked so far!

WHAT WERE THREE MEMORABLE MOMENTS WITH YOUR FAMILY IN 2018?

Easter. How I lost track of social media during Lent and how Christ slowly filled our home throughout Holy Week. How Adelina still talks about the pictures she saw daily during that time. We planted a beautiful seed that year and I’m looking forward to expanding on our Easter traditions ❤

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Spending long summer days and into the fall enjoying our beautiful yard. How much Adelina loved her swing hanging from the tree out front (and how it broke my heart when she sobbed after moving to our new home in Las Vegas because there wasn’t a tree to hang it from…)

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Family trips — to Georgia in May to see my mom graduate and visit our good friends, with just me and Andrew to our friends’ wedding in Nebraska, to Boston in November for my cousin’s wedding and to fill my heart with some gorgeous New England fall foliage before moving to the desert.

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WHAT DO YOU NEVER WANT TO FORGET ABOUT YOUR KIDS IN 2018?

Jonas’ first steps. He was born with clubfoot if you’re new here, and hitting that milestone meant a LOT to us. Now, he’s unstoppable!

Adelina learning to write her name. Her first day of preschool and all these huge milestones she kept leaping over.

The way Jonas calls chocolate “cayoyo” and how he pretends to be a baby, rubbing his eyes and crying, and erupts into giggles when I “console” him.

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WHAT WERE THE HARDEST THINGS ABOUT LAST YEAR?

Losing my camera in an airport right after starting my photography business. It was the most awful thing and generally one of the more horrific travel experiences of my life, and that was before…

Traveling to my childhood best friend’s wedding this summer. Which didn’t actually happen because of a missed connection and an inflexible, unhelpful airline. I got to Chicago, the connecting flight got canceled because of weather, and I missed my flight to get to Europe out of NYC. And so I turned around and went home and missed the wedding.

Yeah. It was rough. I spent a lot of time asking why, and I still get sick thinking about those two trips. But what is awesome is I benefited from my father-in-law’s generosity who upgraded his camera and gave me his old camera, with which I shot all of my sessions for months while earning enough money to buy my first big-girl full-frame camera. And I’m so proud of how hard I worked and what I managed to make of it all.

MOVING. Moving was hard, maybe the hardest ever this time because we had put down roots, I had some incredible friends and a wonderful support network, and sending it all into chaos and starting all over was really overwhelming. We are so grateful for the opportunity and our new life, but the transition is ROUGH.

WHAT DID YOU LEARN IN 2018?

I am awesome. Ha. OK seriously though, I learned I am good at stuff and I shouldn’t doubt, I just need to forge ahead and make it happen. I can do hard things.

WHAT NEW PRODUCTS, HOBBIES DID YOU DISCOVER LAST YEAR?

Clean Simple Eats Meal Plans. It has been seriously amazing to have things figured out for me. Healthy snacks and treats too. Just learning to get the right balance of nutrients.

This is so lame ha, but organizational stuff for kitchen cupboards were life-changing! Using lazy susans for spices (amazing!) and clear bins to group baking supplies.

Oh, I got a Loopy Case for my phone over Black Friday and it is awesome. I’ve had some pretty bad phone troubles this year and damage issues so this was totally what I needed!

Work + Wonder General Conference notebooks! I LOVED having this for the October general conference and it’s been a neat study tool after as well.

WHAT ARE YOUR WILDEST DREAMS AND GOALS FOR 2019? WRITE THEM AS IF THEY’RE ALREADY IN THE WORKS (THEY ARE)!

I want to fill our life with friends and good company. I miss the culture of having friends around all the time in France — it was made very clear to me when a friend from France visited a few weeks ago just how much I crave that — so I need to just make it happen for ourselves!

I want to earn more with my photography business this year than I did last year. It’s a tall order considering we just moved and I lost all my clients. But it’s doable since I only really got off the ground last summer and now I have a whole year ahead of me! Hire me, why don’t you? 😀

I also want to shoot wedding videos this year. If you know of anyone getting married… hit me up!

I want to stay healthy and in good shape. I have laid some solid foundations since last year and my goal is to basically keep it up, not let life circumstances get me down and start emotional eating all the time — ha.

I want to speak at another women’s conference! This is doable, because I know I’ve done it before, and I loved it.

I want to do a better job of writing articles vs. just blogging updates. I have so many things I never even share that I think would really be of value to others. For example we’ve really jumped into the homeschooling thing and it’s been going amazing, and I know of so many people who want to give their kids a French-English bilingual education too, I need to share the good stuff!

Oh yeah speaking of which… we’re starting home school this year! It’s in coordination with other programs as well but the bulk of learning happens at home and it’s been really cool. Just in two weeks I can already see Adelina’s progress in writing and drawing and recognizing letters and sounding things out. It is so cool! And my goal is to better integrate the new Come Follow Me program for our kid’s education and my own personal study as well. Still working on tools for these little ones.

OK this one’s totally out there, but it would be pretty cool to dip a toe back into broadcasting.  I have some thoughts on how that might be accomplished but this is definitely one to flesh out. And one I’m OK not making happen right this second if it doesn’t end up being the right time. But we shall see…

Other than that, I don’t have any big concrete dreams for this year: settling in, finding the right rhythm for our family, reestablishing my business… rebuilding and regrouping. Building on last year’s momentum. And being OK with focusing inward on our family and on building/strengthening relationships here.

WHAT ARE SOME HABITS YOU WANT TO BREAK?

Still working on my dependency on my phone and social media. It’s so hard to find middle ground.

Not getting up early and starting my day before the kids are up. I got into a better routine the latter half of 2018 but it’s still a struggle sometimes, but I KNOW that I can do this and I know how much better my day goes when I get a good morning in.

Yelling… I’m not very good at staying calm because I let the kids get to me, even though I know full well they’re not doing it JUST to get my goat (but it sure feels like it sometimes!!!) Ralphie from Simply on Purpose has the best advice for all this, I just need to follow it.

WHAT NEW ONES WILL REPLACE THEM?

MORNING ROUTINES. Shelly of Good Morning Shelly was the first to introduce me to this book (also she’s the nicest & coolest person!) and it’s on my list soon — I love her discussions on morning routines and I know implementing better routines makes a huge difference in my life. Anyone who knows me knows I am NOT a morning person, but I want to be. I’ll get there!

READING. I meant to read a lot more books than I ended up doing in 2018. I love to read, but the second half of the year brought a lot of upheaval and reading fell by the wayside in all the chaos of relocating. I’ve gotten a good start so far though, and our local library is amazing! I couldn’t contain my excitement at all the resources and books available, ha!

MORE SINCERE GOSPEL LIVING. Incorporating Come Follow Me in my personal study. Continuing to seek out good sources.  Attending the temple monthly (I’m so excited to live so close to a temple now!). More of the Savior in my life, and sharing that light more freely. More listening, more compassion.

WHAT ARE YOUR TRAVEL AND OR ADVENTURE DREAMS FOR 2019?

More trips just for fun, just for us. We’ve always traveled to visit family, for a family event, etc. Now that Andrew gets insane points because he travels so much for work, we’re excited to travel just for the heck of it. California beaches, here we come…

Hiking. I want to discover more of the desert beauty around here. And I want to visit all those Southern Utah red rocks! The slot canyons look incredible. Also, the grand canyon. It might not happen this year, but I want to see it.

It’s going to be our tenth anniversary this August, so we’re going to do something awesome this time! Not sure yet what ha, but it’ll be great.

2 thoughts on “New Year and Looking Back on 2019

  1. I loved the format of this post, such a great way to recap your year. Also, your goals are inspiring. I’ve always felt you live life to the fullest and you’re such a go-getter (even though I’m sure there are days you don’t feel like it). A note on hiking: as someone who’s traveled to Las Vegas/Henderson area every March for the last four years I’ve always wanted to check out Red Rocks ( just outside the city), I’ve heard there are some great hikes there. Las Vegas is also a gateway to Havasupi, so I’d definitely recommend considering that long but rewarding trek.

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    1. Oh yes I’ve heard amazing things about havasupai falls, I want to to do that too! And I’ve been to red rocks once but super surface, I’m excited to explore a little more! And thank you for the kind words ♥️

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